Tag Archives: cooking

Balsamic Portabella and Red Pepper Wrap


This portabella and red pepper wrap is inspired by a wrap that I got at a nearby bar & grill.  The only difference is that they use roasted red peppers, plain goat cheese, and garlic mayo.  My version doesn’t taste exactly like theirs, I’m assuming due to the garlic mayo, but I decided I could do without it.  I’ve made this several times now and it makes for a great lunch at work.

You want to start with a large portabella cap and a small red bell pepper.  In my case, this is the opposite, because it’s what I had to work with.  And make it work I did.

The other star of the show is Trader Joe’s goat cheese with kalamata olives.  Has anyone else tried this yet?  It’s delicious in all of its salty and creamy goodness.

Balsamic Portabella and Red Pepper Wrap

  • balsamic vinegar
  • goat cheese
  • 1 large portabella mushroom cap, cut into strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • spinach
  • 1 large wrap

1.  Pour about 3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in a nonstick pan.  Add the bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  I like to cook the bell pepper first because they take longer to cook than the mushrooms.

2.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, and about 3 Tablespoons more of balsamic vinegar.  Cook for about 10 minutes more, or until the vinegar has cooked out of the pan.

3.  Spread as much goat cheese as you like on the wrap, add a handful of spinach, the mushrooms and peppers, and then wrap it up.  The key to wrapping without it falling apart is to use the extra large wraps!

Happy Noms!


Weekdays Made Easy


The freezer is a wonderful invention.  It makes my weekdays a whole lot easier.  I rarely have time to “assemble” my lunch before work, and I would rather not go out to eat because it takes up too much time, money, and calories.  I make it easy on myself by taking one day on the weekend or a weeknight to prepare most of my meals for the work-week.

I did some major cooking and baking on MLK Day since I had the day off from work!  I decided to make winter veggie burritos and used Jenna’s method for slow cooker black beans.

 Winter Veggie Burritos

  • black beans (canned or slow cooker style)
  • cheese
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • steamed kale
  • super sweet corn
  • salsa

Roll all of the ingredients up in a tortilla.  During the summer I use zucchini and yellow squash in place of the sweet potatoes and kale.

Once you’re done rolling, you can wrap them individually in foil and place them in a bag in the freezer.

I ran out of tortillas, so I used brown rice instead.  Brown rice freezes nicely; you just cook it, let it cool, and then it’s ready to go in the freezer.

You can take them out the night before to thaw, or you can take it out in the morning and put it in an insulated lunch bag.  Mine is still frozen 4 hours later, without refrigeration.  It usually takes about 3-4 minutes to warm in the microwave.

Lunch is not the only thing you can prepare ahead of time.  I made blueberry muffins for my breakfast all last week.  The recipe comes from The Cupcake Calendar that my sister-in-law gave me (Thanks Ellen!).  It’s a neat little daily calendar that has a cupcake/muffin recipe for everyday.

I left six out for Vee and I to eat over the next couple of days and wrapped the rest individually in foil and put them in the freezer.  Just unwrap and nuke the muffin for 30-45 seconds in the microwave and you’re good to go.

Snacks can be frozen too!  I made hummus and put it in small freezer safe containers that hold about two servings each.  You can put the container in the fridge overnight to thaw.  Assuming that you freeze it right away, it will last two days in the fridge.

All in the name of time. Amen.

Do you any have meal-time saving tips?

Vegged Out


I think a more appropriate name for this blog would be “Veggie Queen.”

I managed to cook turnips, yellow squash, butternut squash, and bok choy tonight from my Barbee Farms CSA.

I’m not really familiar with cooking turnips, but I have had them raw.  They’re OK.  I figured I couldn’t go wrong with roasting.

To Roast Veggies:

  1. Peel the butternut squash and turnips.
  2. Chop the butternut squash and turnips, along with the yellow squash.  
  3. Toss them with olive oil in a bag to coat, and spread them on a non-stick coated baking sheet.  
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and Garlic Gold and bake at 425 degrees for 30  minutes.

In the meantime, I prepared the  bok choy.

Bok Choy

  1. Wash and chop one head of bok choy.
  2. Pour about 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce in a non-stick pan, and cook the white part of the bok choy for about 5 minutes on medium heat (since they take longer to soften).
  3. Add the rest of the bok choy and cook until the leaves are just wilted.
  4. Take off the heat and drizzle a little bit of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with red pepper.
So, the yellow squash turned out beautifully.  It melts in your mouth and the Garlic Gold gives it a slight crunch.  The turnips were a little bitter and firmer.  Maybe they needed to cook longer…I don’t think I’m a fan.  Maybe I just don’t know the best way to cook them.
The bok choy was awesome.  I can’t believe it cooked down so much.  To give you perspective, what is on my plate is the whole head of bok choy (with the exception of a few stems).  This is probably about a cup of bok choy.
I made soup with the roasted butternut squash.

Butternut Squash Soup

serves  4


  • 2 small butternut squash – peeled, chopped and roasted.
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter or Earth Balance
  • 2 Tablespoons of 100% pure maple syrup
  • 32 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth, or Trader Joe’s butternut squash soup.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 dashes of nutmeg
  • pinch of white pepper to season
  1. Saute the onion with the butter for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add the maple syrup to the onion and cook an additional 5 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add the black beans, corn, roasted butternut squash, and seasonings.
  4. Add the broth and water and turn to medium heat.
  5. Wait for the soup to come to a boil and then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
I ate one bowl and then froze the rest in freezer safe containers, so that I can take them to work for lunch next week.
I promise something sweet tomorrow!

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa



So this is day three of sharing what I do with the veggies in my CSA box from Barbee Farms.  Tonight’s highlight are these colorful bell peppers.

Bell peppers are high in vitamin C and A.  Did you know that paprika is dried powdered bell pepper?!  I just found that out from whfoods.com.

I made Pineapple Cashew Quinoa with my lovely bell peppers.  I recently found this recipe from Meganerd Runs and it is now my favorite way to make quinoa.  It is a mix of quinoa, pineapple, cashews, basil, peppers, garlic, and soy sauce.  You can also add in other veggies if you like.

Meganerd Runs found this recipe in the cookbook Veganomicon.  I’m not vegan, but I don’t discriminate!  Quick – go to her website for the recipe!!!  You will love it!

Breakfast Corn Fritters


Fall is in the air and I’m loving it.  I’m also loving the fall veggies that I’m getting in my CSA from Barbee Farms.  I thought it would be neat to share with you how I use the veggies that I get in my box this week.  Here is what I have:

  • 3 ears corn
  • 2 bell pepper
  • 1 head bok choy
  • 4 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 turnips
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchini
Let’s start with the corn shall we?
I don’t usually think of eating corn for breakfast, but cook it up like a pancake and douse it with syrup and I’m good to go!  This recipe comes from the Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast Cookbook.  I have a handy-dandy cookbook holder that I use, given to me as a wedding gift by my Aunt.  (Thanks Aunt Sue!)

Breakfast Corn Fritters


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels cut off 2-3 large cobs
  1.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. I had to add a bit more milk to make it smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Gently mix in the corn.
  5. In a large skillet, heat 3 Tablespoons of oil over med-high heat.  Drop 3 Tablespoons of batter into the pan and flatten the mixture.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Top with butter and maple syrup.
These taste just like a pancake with corn in them.  I like to call them corn cakes.  Vee said “I like it, but it’s not something I’d order off the menu.”  Don’t listen to him.  They are delish.  The corn makes them sweet and I love the crunch they give against the soft flour.
Charlie and I spent the rest of the day gazing out the window.

Pancakes with Chocolate Gravy


Pancakes are for the weekends….or weekends are for pancakes?!?  Either way, you should have pancakes this weekend.  I’ve been using Martha Stewart’s Basic Pancake Recipe from her test kitchen.  Sounds so official doesn’t it?  I read a book by Dalia Jurgensen called Spiced, where at one point in her life, she had a job in Martha Stewart’s test kitchen.  And you guessed it, she tested recipes and made food at different stages in preparation for Martha’s show on TV.  Sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me.

Back to the pancakes.  I’ve been using all white flour, but for this instance I used half white and half whole wheat.  These pancakes were special because we topped them with Chocolate Gravy.

The Chocolate Gravy recipe comes from the kitchen of Beatrice Hoover Hill (Vee’s grandmother).  Vee’s dad gave me the recipe and said that his family grew up eating biscuits topped with chocolate gravy.

I decided pancakes were biscuit-like enough and we three musketeers set into action.

While I made the pancakes, the oven baked the bacon, and Vee stirred the gravy.

Charlie supervised, because you know, he’s an expert at making chocolate gravy and all.

I was expecting the chocolate gravy to taste more like chocolate syrup, but SURPRISE, it actually tasted like traditional gravy with a hint of chocolate.  It was good on the pancakes and wasn’t overly sweet at all.  It will gel like pudding if you put it in the fridge, but doesn’t really make a good pudding because you can still taste the flour.  It is a gravy after all.

Chocolate Gravy

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons flour
  • 2 rounded Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups milk

Whisk the dry ingredients together, then add the milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Will thicken as it comes to a boil.  Let boil until it reaches the thickness you like.

Thanks for sharing Dr. Hill! 🙂